A native of Denver, Sheila was first introduced to food and cooking by her father, an avid food lover and cook. At Florida International University, a biology major (and soccer player), she indulged in her culinary cravings and explored the wonderful and varied south Florida cuisines.
Imparted with the respect and passion for food instilled in her by her father, Sheila chose to continue her education, and graduated from the Colorado Art Institute with a degree in the culinary arts. Starting out in delis and bakeries prior to and during school, Sheila discovered her love of energy and the enthusiasm kitchens can have. While completing her culinary education she worked as a line cook at several Denver restaurants. Sheila was part of the opening crew at Jax Fish House, Denver. She was next promoted to Sous Chef under the guidance of Dave Query and Jamey Fader.
Sheila became Chef in the summer of 2002, where she immediately made her mark be receiving the accolades of best seafood by 5280 magazine, Westword Magazine, City Search, Rocky Mountain News. Sheila has donated her time and talent to the Great Chefs of the West Liver Foundation, The Kidney Foundation, the Chefs up Front (S.O.S.), the Do at the Zoo, and Project Angel Heart to name a few. In 2009 Sheila became the Executive Chef of Jax Fish House Boulder and Denver.
1.Where are you from?
I spent my early childhood in New Jersey, moved to Michigan for adolescence. I’ve lived in Denver, San Diego, Vail, and Boston as well.
2.When/Why did you come to Colorado
I came to Colorado for the winter sports, and enjoying all the west has to offer.
I attended Schoolcraft College’s Culinary program. I studied under chef Brian Polcyn, Joseph Decker, and other certified master chefs.
4.What/Who inspires you?
Chefs Claudia Flemming, Alice Waters, and Thomas Keller inspire me. I am passionate about fresh ingredients that showcase the nuance and quality of local meats, fish, produce and products. I love sharing these things with our guests.
5.Why jax and/or seafood?
Being that Colorado is a landlocked state, people tend to lose hope in finding great seafood. Jax strives to exceed our guests’ needs and sets the standard for restaurants around it. I get to cook with the freshest ingredients possible and am able to constantly adjust my dishes according to what Fort Collins has to offer. I enjoy sharing what I love and think that Jax allows chefs to feature dishes in a comfortable yet challenging setting.
6.What do you bring to jax?
I am tirelessly passionate about my profession; I believe there is great value in understanding every possible aspect of my work. Because of this, every Saturday I spend time visiting the local farmers market and am constantly being handed new ingredients to cook with. My cooking is simplistic in form but complex in delivery.
I am a descendant of Italian relatives whom were relocated to France during the Second World War and brought their mixed culinary knowledge to the U.S.
8.What do you do with your free time?
I enjoy gardening, snowboarding, biking, making cheese and frequently hanging out with the local farmers I have met through the restaurant.